Did you know that every 36 seconds, someone dies from cardiovascular disease in the United States according to the CDC? To put this in perspective, the time it takes for a bathroom break, to refill a cup of coffee, or to take out the trash, someone unfortunately, dies from heart disease. That means that in every four, there is one. American Heart Awareness Month is an opportunity to learn about the importance of cardiovascular health, and how you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
Let’s take a look at what cardiovascular disease is, some facts you should know, and how you can keep your heart healthy. Keep reading, as we go through some life-saving advice, and we hope to encourage you to share your knowledge with others.
What Is It and How Do You Prevent It?
Heart disease is the presence of heart-related conditions that include diseased vessels, blood clots, along with a host of other problems and it’s the leading cause of death in the United States. It essentially affects the functioning of your heart. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. You probably didn’t realize that at least 18.2 million people over the age of 20 have CAD.
That makes up for about 6.7% representing that diagnosis. In some cases, heart disease is often considered to be preventable if treated correctly. How can you prevent heart disease? Well, let’s take a look;
- Stay on top of your blood sugar
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Don’t ignore your cholesterol
- Eat healthy (heart-healthy)
- Try to get in more physical activity
- Avoid or quit smoking tobacco products
Although you’ve got a list of the things you should and shouldn’t do so that you can limit your chances of putting yourself at risk for heart disease, these things have to become a habit. The important thing is to know that you can’t eat healthy two days out of a week and have unhealthy food in large portions the other five days and consider that a healthy diet or routine. You have to be dedicated to your overall health and that even includes getting regular check-ups.
Know The Different Types of Heart Diseases
You might find it interesting to know that there are many types of cardiovascular diseases and each can affect different areas of your body. The leading type is coronary artery disease as we’ve mentioned. CAD blocks blood flow to the heart itself by clogging arteries with plaque buildup. Other types include
- Congenital heart diseases
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Heart attack or heart failure
- Aorta disease
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Heart valve disease
There are unfortunately more diseases and effects associated with poor heart health and that’s the reason that awareness is so important.
Know If You’re At Risk
You should also be aware of your risk factors for developing these diseases. Some risk factors examples could be; if you’re overweight or obese (which is proven to increase your risk), smoking (which drastically increases blood pressure), or having an unhealthy diet that lacks important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids or fiber (proven to reduce inflammation).
There are also other ways you can manage your risk, which include reducing stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques and getting enough sleep every night.
As we’ve touched on, it’s never too late to get your heart checked. If you haven’t planned your yearly check-up with your primary care physician, go ahead and do it now. There is no better form of prevention and being proactive than ensuring you’re being examined routinely.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to wait to go to the doctor to pay close attention to your health. You can monitor your blood pressure, body weight/mass, and even your cholesterol from your home. Everything that you need to test these vitals on your own can be safely purchased in most stores and online as well. If you have any concerns, check your vitals regularly and ask your doctor for more prevention tactics.
Spread The Knowledge
This American Heart Awareness Month make sure to take advantage of all the information you can find regarding heart health! If you’re interested in potentially saving the lives of others, raise awareness. Aside from getting screened, you can take action and volunteer at an awareness event in your area, or even dress in red to show your support since it’s the national color of heart health awareness.
Remember, heart disease is still considered to be the number one killer in the United States. Do what you can to protect yourself, and to protect others by showing support in raising awareness in any way that you can.